Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why Civilizations Fall

In the story of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the main character, Hank Morgan, a mechanic in an arms manufacturing plant wakes up one day in King Arthur's England. He does everything he can to advance the backwardness of the peasants and royalty alike, but in the end it all comes to naught, as the people are forgetful and more comfortable in their ignorance. All of the advancements he made to the civilization in which he found himself was wasted, and there's the nugget of truth for today's civilization.

Advanced as we've become, we are hurtling backwards into a new dark age.

Isaac Schrödinger  writes sparingly about this very topic, as he does with everything he writes. Click through the links on this post for details  He uses a minimum amount of words for the maximum effect.
Why did the Roman Empire fall apart? One important reason is that the people who built and forged the institution had long been dead by the end. Men like Scipio couldn't reach out and teach the later offspring about life and how to wage war.
Take a simple example at the micro level: At my high school, I once saw a kid sitting with his African parents. The kid wasn't doing well in his courses. The parents spoke perfect English, were sharply dressed and exuded class. This made an ugly contrast with the boy: shirt half-out, slumped in the chair on to his right side, mumbling on how he'll really do better this time.
His parents just couldn't understand. They had sacrificed so much for him. They both worked full-time. They understood how hard life is. They had provided him with so many comforts and opportunities. They had enrolled him in a school in the West. But what was the result? He regularly skipped classes, cheated on assignments and was failing two out of four courses.
Why! How! It didn't make sense. This kid was living a life of luxury better than what 99.99% of humanity could dream of. Why was he pissing over every chance he was given?
Upon learning history, the question answers itself.
Every institution in this country is corrupt, slothful, and failing in its basic responsibility to the generations to follow.  A nation built upon optimism and faith, which sloughs off its beliefs will descend into hedonism, decadence and fatalism.

Wake up and strengthen the things which remain.



A Hat tip to LL (international jewel thief), who left  the title of the Kipling poem, City of Brass  at Infidel Bloggers Alliance, where this is cross-posted:





City of Brass, from The Arabian Nights, by Maxfield Parrish



"The City of Brass"
1909

“Here was a people whom after their works thou shalt see wept over 
for their lost dominion: and in this palace is the last information 
respecting lords collected in the dust.” –
The Arabian Nights.
In a land that the sand overlays – the ways to her gates are untrod – A multitude ended their days whose gates were made splendid by God, Till they grew drunk and were smitten with madness and went to their fall, And of these is a story written: but Allah Alone knoweth all! When the wine stirred in their heart their bosoms dilated. They rose to suppose themselves kings over all things created – To decree a new earth at a birth without labour or sorrow – To declare: “We prepare it to-day and inherit to-morrow.” They chose themselves prophets and priests of minute understanding, Men swift to see done, and outrun, their extremest commanding – Of the tribe which describe with a jibe the perversions of Justice – Panders avowed to the crowd whatsoever its lust is. Swiftly these pulled down the walls that their fathers had made them – The impregnable ramparts of old, they razed and relaid them As playgrounds of pleasure and leisure, with limitless entries, And havens of rest for the wastrels where once walked the sentries; And because there was need of more pay for the shouters and marchers, They disbanded in face of their foemen their yeomen and archers. They replied to their well-wishers’ fears – to their enemies laughter, Saying: “Peace! We have fashioned a God Which shall save us hereafter. We ascribe all dominion to man in his factions conferring, And have given to numbers the Name of the Wisdom unerring.” They said: “Who has hate in his soul? Who has envied his neighbour? Let him arise and control both that man and his labour.” They said: “Who is eaten by sloth? Whose unthrift has destroyed him? He shall levy a tribute from all because none have employed him.” They said: “Who hath toiled, who hath striven, and gathered possession? Let him be spoiled. He hath given full proof of transgression.” They said: “Who is irked by the Law? Though we may not remove it. If he lend us his aid in this raid, we will set him above it! So the robber did judgment again upon such as displeased him, The slayer, too, boasted his slain, and the judges released him. As for their kinsmen far off, on the skirts of the nation, They harried all earth to make sure none escaped reprobation. They awakened unrest for a jest in their newly-won borders, And jeered at the blood of their brethren betrayed by their orders. They instructed the ruled to rebel, their rulers to aid them; And, since such as obeyed them not fell, their Viceroys obeyed them. When the riotous set them at naught they said: “Praise the upheaval! For the show and the world and the thought of Dominion is evil!” They unwound and flung from them with rage, as a rag that defied them, The imperial gains of the age which their forefathers piled them. They ran panting in haste to lay waste and embitter for ever The wellsprings of Wisdom and Strengths which are Faith and Endeavour. They nosed out and digged up and dragged forth and exposed to derision All doctrine of purpose and worth and restraint and prevision: And it ceased, and God granted them all things for which they had striven, And the heart of a beast in the place of a man’s heart was given. . . . When they were fullest of wine and most flagrant in error, Out of the sea rose a sign – out of Heaven a terror. Then they saw, then they heard, then they knew – for none troubled to hide it, A host had prepared their destruction, but still they denied it. They denied what they dared not abide if it came to the trail; But the Sward that was forged while they lied did not heed their denial. It drove home, and no time was allowed to the crowd that was driven. The preposterous-minded were cowed – they thought time would be given. There was no need of a steed nor a lance to pursue them; It was decreed their own deed, and not a chance, should undo them. The tares they had laughingly sown were ripe to the reaping. The trust they had leagued to disown was removed from their keeping. The eaters of other men’s bread, the exempted from hardship, The excusers of impotence fled, abdicating their wardship, For the hate they had taught through the State brought the State no defender, And it passed from the roll of the Nations in headlong surrender!

2 comments:

  1. Too many people don't care, Jewel.

    Hell, more than half of the Tea Party folks poll in favor of the socialist, nanny state, take care of me programs that they happen to like. The other half loves them all.

    Self reliance, honor, sacrifice and a basic education mean nothing to a wide swath of our population.

    Bling, easy credit and few real repercussions for poor choices seem to dominate our times.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your post "Check Mate" ties nicely in with this theme. It is as if ignorance of obligation is a mitigating factor in not paying for one's responsibilities, whether it is a child a man has sired, or a mortgage one has signed, promising to pay. The loop holes abound, thanks to the government sponsored 'faith based initiative', if you'll pardon the pun, fostering the kind of personal irresponsibility to be paid for by others. The head rots from the top. The working and middle class is that thin, delicate spine which keeps it all upright. Break the back of the responsible classes, and you have a completely paralyzed nation, top to bottom. The symptoms are multiplying fast. Tea Parties are quaint ideas, but they don't get the job done. We need cold, steeled resolve. Going it alone against our own government.

    ReplyDelete

Don't just sit there, say something!